Welcome to the first review brought to you by GP24.ro live from Le Mans.
After a clean start and first laps it was no surprise to see the Toyota’s leading the pack and getting away quite quickly with the #7 car in front.
During the first hour at Le Mans the fiercest battle was delivered in the GTM-Pro Class. After about half an hour Antonio Garcia in the #63 Corvette passed the #95 Aston Martin and took the lead in his class. Shortly after he also recorded the best lap time in class. Kevin Estre in the #92 Porsche has also been very fast and managed to get past the #95 Aston Martin driven by Nicki Thiim and even came close to attacking the leading Corvette. Shortly before the end of the first hour the first scary moment when Satoshi Hoshino spun the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche and nearly collected the #56 Project 1 Porsche and causing the first Full Course Yellow of this 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The start of the 2nd hour was earmarked by a new lap record of 3:17,297 set by Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid. No surprise that the Toyota’s are very dominant and even more so their #7 car in the hands of Mike Conway already leads the #8 Toyota by a full minute. In third place after about 1,5 hours is the #3 Rebellion R-13 in the hands of Gustavon Menenes a further 35 seconds behind the leader. In the LMP-2 class it is the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut driven by Nicolas Lapierre followed by the #26 G-Drive Racing car in the hands of Formula-E start Jean Eric Vergne. In the GTM-Pro class it is still Antonio Garcia in the #63 Corvette leading but now closely followed by Nick Tandy in the #92 Porsche. The GTE-AM Class is led by former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari followed by Matt Campbell in the #77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche. After a driver change in the #63 Corvette where Antonio Garcia made place for veteran Jan Magnussen Sven Muller in the #94 Porsche, but directly after their driver change the incumbent Patrick Pilet lost the lead after being passed by Jan Magnussen so Corvette continues to lead the GTM-Pro class.
The 3rd hour starts without changes in the front of the LMP-1 field as we still saw Mike Conway driving the #7 Toyota delivering consistently fast laps extending his lead over the sister Toyota with #8. After 2,5 hours of racing here at Le Mans still all 61 starters are competing which is a small miracle in its own right. The only notable incident involved the #10 Dragonspeed BR1 driven by Ben Hanley which saw him fall back to 57th place. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso has taken over the #8 Toyota to do his first stint. Then a moment of shivers for Bruno Senna as he got a punctured tyre causing him to spin in the Porsche Curves causing a Full Course Yellow. During the pitstop to change the tyres he was also relieved of driving duties by Andre Lotterer. Closely before the end of the third hour the Yellow #29 Dallara LMP-2 from Racing Team Nederland caused another Full Course Yellow after losing parts in the Porsche Curves. The car continued to the pit in slow speed and shortly after the track was cleared again. After a full 3 hour stint Mike Conway hands the leading #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid to Kamui Kobayashi who starts his 1st stint in the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours WEC Super final with 1:03,297 second lead over the sister #8 car driven by Fernando Alonso.
- Source: Frank van Nunen @GP24.ro
- Photocredit: ACO / Le Mans
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